The paint has dried on the new hand washing facility, the bathrooms are neat and orderly, the water filtration system is up and running and the clean water tank is full. World Water Relief has finished the construction stage of our project at Batey Los Robles, a community of little more than 500 “Robleros” as they affectionately call themselves, and we will finish up our hygiene education classes this week. During these classes, we, along with the help of our invaluable volunteer from Vision Mundial, Ysenia Perez, will teach the students the role and importance of good hygiene.
Last week was an exceptional week for the community of Los Robles. A ceremonial opening celebrated the arrival of clean water to the community, and we were fortunate to have many sponsors attend the ceremony. Chris Clark, the founder of Children of the Nations, gave a speech on the importance of the community protecting and taking ownership of the new facilities. We were also lucky to meet Jason Mayer and his enthusiastic team from the Rotary Club of Silverdale. Finally, our own president, Kevin Fussell, surprised both Danilo and me by making an appearance at the event. Without the collaboration of Rotary International and Children of the Nations, this project would not have been possible.
As the weeks spent here begin to slip into months, I have become increasingly confident in the approach World Water Relief takes to improve peoples’ health and well being. Despite being a small organization, the reason we are able to have an impact is because we live here. By the end of this project, the students were no longer surprised to see Danilo or me at the school – our regular appearance had become part of the routine. It was through these measures we were able to gain the trust of our friends at Los Robles. Because of this, we were able to develop genuine relationships with these students, and I am most optimistic about their chances to become agents of change in their families and in their community.